Save Internet Energy (mini Instructable)





Introduction: Save Internet Energy (mini Instructable)

About: I'm an experimentalist, a scientist and I have a tendency to do things just for the sake of doing them, or to find out what they're like. I love life, show me something I can feel good about. I've got an ...

"In terms of greenhouse gases, one Google search is equivalent to about 0.2 grams of CO2"
One of many sources
This is in the hardware that drives the internet, the servers, storage units routers etc.

Here's an easy way to save a bit of energy:

Use a (paper) Dictionary, or Encyclopedia

There are plenty of them about, as we've become accustomed to using online references they've fallen out of use somewhat. You may have one at home, or be able to pick one up second-hand,
If it's already been printed and bound, there's no environmental impact.
A hard-copy dictionary or encyclopedia will not let you down if you have a problem with your power, computer, internet connection. (Nuclear-armageddon / zombie attack)
I use mine because they're often quicker and I have the certainty of who published them.

Many people have become accustomed to using the mouse to retrieve information, without moving away from where they are (I don't move much, but I do take my hand off the mouse)

Step 1: Using the Dictionary / Encyclopedia

They are organised alphabetically. Look up the word/name you're after and if it's in there you'll find the definition / information. This involves moving the paper pages with your hands / fingers, a task I'm sure you can manage (but it's an Instructable, so this is instruction)
Look to the top of the pages, the left-hand page will display the first word on the page, e.g. manageable, the right-hand page displays the last, e.g. Manilla

When you find a word / entry, it's formatted to a standard, but to leave the academic formatting aside (as this is a substitute for Google / Wikipedia / - if it's on paper it's as good as online, unless you've got a really old book.

Simple Instructable: the instruction is "use the books not the internet"

Unless the topic is long-dead, your version may be a bit out of date: "United States Of America: HEAD OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT - Ronald Regan..." Still, some of the information lasts, e.g. the inside covers of my Hutchinson Encyclopedia (1988) give weights and measures conversions info, with no internet energy cost.

(Thanks to my Mum for giving me these books)

Step 2: Final

It's so simple that it may not really qualify as an Instructable:
If you think so let me know and I'll consider removing it




    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Creative Misuse Contest

      Creative Misuse Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest

    40 Discussions

    I really appreciate this. The only thing that keeps me googling is that I have limited space for books and limited credit at the local used book shop. I think this could be somewhat "modernized" by putting all the info you need specifically onto a flash drive, sort of like your own personal Hitchiker's Guide. That way, you only need get the info once.

    1 reply

    I have a belief that there are plenty of tasks we use a computer for where we could probably do without it. Well of course that's true, we've survived without them for centuries.

    I tend to think of things like CAD (Computer Aided Design) applications which are great, but I remember a time when I was taught in school on a technical drawing board. Another example is the old style manual type writer.

    When you have to really think about your next move before committing to paper, it probably trains your brain to focus more and may help a person to make better decisions overall. Kind of how playing chess may have benefits to mental capabilities, such as with stratergy.

    With a computer you can simply erase the mistake and try again, but you don't get that opportunity on paper. Sure computers make for easier projects, but I think we're losing something by using them for everything.

    But this is all just a theory. :D Thanks for the great instructable!

    1 reply

    The concept is right on.
         As an electrician I did alot of work in data centers.  First time I walked into one I was blown away at the power consumption, I've installed hundreds of 30 Amp, 220 Volt receptacles for companies like Ebay, Netflix, the Stanford Organ Donor (List?), Friendster, various photo websites, even top dog games.  It took 300 of those receptacles, representing about 150 servers to set up the new cage for Mafia Wars (Myspace Games) Not that they draw a full 30 Amps, but the work in pairs and every 2 receptacles equalls about 25 Amps drawn.  That a ballpark amount of 825,000 watts of power to run useless Maria Wars!!
         I've worked at Western Digital's Magnetic Head Operation Center, where the do R&D and also make the little tiny head that reads and writes onto your hard drive.  That's all the facility does, yet it consumes soooo much power it requires its own substation.  I mean like its own own.  The are the only customer on their own grid.  The building has six 4000 amp 480 volt services, that's over 11 megawatts!
        This all makes me laugh when I turn off lights or install CFL's.  I still do, but it feels like whats the point when, I know where all the real power is going

    2 replies

    It's a small thing, I could go for an online dictionary, or I could reach over for my book (which I do)


    You've done exactly what you've told me not to. You've gave people tips on how to save internet energy?

    This really does make sense though, it's like people posting useless videos on youtube and wasting 5 minutes of my time, they're also wasting my electricity and internet bandwidth.

    2 replies

    Actually, I think your body would expel more than .2 grams of extra CO2 by taking the effort to flip through a book. So it is probably better for the environment to use the internet instead of books.

    5 replies

    It depends on how you look at it. What if the person doing all of the searching eats lots of burgers? One cheeseburger emits as much CO2 as 15000 Google searches. Each way of searching hurts the planet differently. One releases more CO2 and kills more animals (or if you're a vegetarian, it kills more CO2 reducing plants), the other uses up our nonrenewable resources.

    You would advise that we do as little exercise & sports as possible then? (in the interest of CO2)


    You're a bit less likely to develop RSI if you take your hands off the computer and pick up a book perhaps? L

    wow i didnt know that 1 google search was 0.2 gram of co2 so how much would this comment be maybe half a gram?

    2 replies